Hope in a Bottle

Did you know that you can buy Hope in a bottle?  Go ahead, just Google it. 

My search came up with a whole lot of unexpected results, including beauty products literally labeled “Renewed Hope in a Jar”.

Starbuck’s website has a page for “hopeinabottle”.  I clicked on the link and the page is no longer available (https://www.starbucks.ph/responsibility/ngos/hope-in-a-bottle.  The idea of the “Hope in a bottle” was to provide public schools in the Philippines from the sales of purified water.  Another search on Facebook for “hopeinabottle” defaulted to a page in New Zealand selling beauty products (https://www.facebook.com/HopeinaBottle.co.nz/) – different from the “Renewed Hope in a Jar”.

So I’ve been pondering about hope, a lot lately, mostly prompted by the theme “Hoping for…”, the theme of LAFPI’s micro-reads this past Sunday.  It was really fun.  After we left the Zoom meeting room, I texted with a friend and he was grateful for hooking him up with the micro-reads.  We were thinking of analogies for the micro-reads.  He said, “kinda like coffee shop open mikes… a chance for artists to be vulnerable and lay bare their thoughts, ideas and emotions for an audience in an intimate setting.”  I like it.  I said, “It’s really like a chemistry lab.”  (There’s a framework we work with, and we’re testing a hypotheses as writers, but the outcome is eventually in the hands of the directors and actors.  It could explode into magnificent fireworks, or just fizzle out… no big deal.  The writer can re-evaluate and re-do the tests, and same with the actors and directors.  What worked? What didn’t work?)

So back to hope.  I meander.  

Meandering is good, especially with a good companion, someone who is adventurous, curious, able and willing (maybe not always able, but willing to try) to explore.  On brighter days, “Hope” is a great companion.  If you’re a hiker or any particular activity that requires some planning, a leap of faith and gumption, you’ve experienced that “hope”… like “I hope there’s a good view of the valley” on the other side of the ridge.  Or on desperate moments like,“I hope there’s water beyond that ridge”, when you’re low on supply in your backpack and your legs.  If you were alone, “Hope” is that companion that keeps you moving towards the ridge and to the other side.

Music is abundant of references to hope.  I am aging myself when I refer to Debby Boone’s “You Light Up My Life”.  She sings “You give me hope to carry on.”  And the Bible, Torah, Bhagavad Gita is rich with references to hope.

In the “Oxford Handbook of Hope”, there’s a chapter on “Hope and Meaning of Life:  Points of Contact Between Hope Theory and Existentialism”.  Freidrich Nietzsche said, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”  This quote was often used by Victor Frankl, an existentialist psychiatrist, who was a Holocaust survivor.  “The chapter makes both an empirical and a theoretical case that, linked by an emphasis on goals, hope and meaning in life are closely connected.” (Credit: https://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199399314.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199399314)

The short piece I submitted for the micro-reads was “H”, and it was a less than cheery scenario of a woman driving around alone with her thoughts and feelings of despair.  Her only tangible companionship was UB-40’s song “Red, Red Wine”, and a $20 bill.  She has a spark of hope to buy herself some flowers and a bottle of red wine to keep her company, in simpatico, as she goes through the throes of a breakup.

I do hope that we never run out of stock!

HOPE is officially out of stock!!!

But I am leaving you with hope with a quote from Thích Nhất Hạnh:

“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear.  If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”

I must also add that he was also quoted to say,

“When I think deeply about the nature of hope, I see something tragic. Since we cling to our hope in the future, we do not focus our energies and capabilities on the present moment. We use hope to believe something better will happen in the future…Hope becomes a kind of obstacle.” – Thich Nhat Hanh.

Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

In his book “ Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life“, he wrote

“Western civilization places so much emphasis on the idea of hope that we sacrifice the present moment. Hope is for the future. It cannot help us discover joy, peace, or enlightenment in the present moment.” 

Not to meander into Buddhist philosophy as I am not fluent in it, what I do recognize is the “The Middle Way”, a complimentary balance of keeping company with hope for a better tomorrow, but not to lose focus on the moment… to keep up the pace of moving one foot in front of the other to get to the other side.

One thought on “Hope in a Bottle

  1. Beautiful post, once again! And I have this quote from Vaclav Havel on my desk: “[Real hope is] not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something make sense, regardless o how it turns out.” Hugs! — Nancy

Comments are closed.